Atherton blasts 'disgraceful' Ipswich

RUGBY UNION: Bishop's Stortford 46 Ipswich 0. Ipswich coach Guy Atherton slammed his players after they were outplayed by Bishop's Stortford in London League Division Two North and crashed to a 46-0 defeat.


Bishop's Stortford 46 Ipswich 0

IPSWICH coach Guy Atherton slammed his players after they were outplayed by Bishop's Stortford in London League Division Two North and crashed to a 46-0 defeat.

"We were a disgrace," said the disappointed Atherton after his team had failed to seize an opportunity to move away from the relegation zone.

Ipswich did not like the referee's interpretation of the law, and gave a string of penalties away.

As the penalties mounted, Ipswich lost their composure, and started to argue not just with the referee, but with each other as well.

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Atherton said: "If players put half the effort into their own games, instead of apportioning blame on their team-mates, the referee, and anyone else but themselves, we would do much better.

"I did not see one of my players today put in a performance that would give him the right to criticise a team-mate."

Ipswich were under pressure throughout as the home pack dominated in the scrummage while the defence was outstanding to deny Ipswich any easy yards and claim a series of turn-overs.

The home side's backs cut holes in the Ipswich defence time and time again, and the speed they exploited on the wings stretched the visitors to breaking point.

Bishop's Stortford did not have it all their own way and, in the first half especially, Ipswich won plenty of ball, but they could not maintain possession as they met stern defence.

They tended to work as 15 individuals, often lacking support at the breakdowns when the ball was either turned over or slowed down enough to allow the home defence to get organised.

When Ipswich did release the ball their backs were met with a solid wall of tacklers.

Bishop's Stortford were out of touch by the break, leading 17-0, and they duly extended their lead to a convincing 46-0 by the final whistle.

Ipswich face Cambridge at home on Saturday, and will have to lick their wounds and re-group quickly if they are to reverse this dip in form.

Ipswich YM 9 Crusaders 8

IPSWICH YM maintained their perfect start to the EC Division Two North season as they made it ten wins out of ten.

But their latest success could not have been closer or more hard-fought as they squeezed to a 9-8 victory over visiting Crusaders.

Traditionally, games against the Hethersett-based guests are tense affairs and this thrilling encounter was one of the best between the old rivals.

At the final whistle there was just a single point between the sides as three penalties, kicked by the YM's highly-influential scrum-half Phil Watts, were just enough to clinch victory.

The visitors started well and there were barely three minutes on the clock when superb centre James Cook scythed through a sleepy defence for the game's only try. Mark Keysell missed the relatively-simple conversion.

The Crusaders pack was immense, winning line-out ball with ease and dominating the scrums, forcing the hosts into their own half for long periods and starving YM of any decent possession.

Watts reduced the deficit with a penalty, but before half-time Keysell had also scored a penalty.

After the restart the hosts began playing with more passion and vigour. Watts steered his forwards well and the YM runners made inroads.

Fly-half John Mitchell pinned the Norfolk visitors back, while the pack stepped up their efforts with No. 8 Derek Cawston always to the fore.

Watts kicked his second penalty of the afternoon and even when the YM were reduced to 14 men following a red card, the momentum had swung in their favour, with Watts scoring another penalty after pressure from the pack.

Basildon 11 Hadleigh 20

HADLEIGH played well enough to take the Division Three North East points on a swamp of a pitch at Basildon.

They took the game to Basildon and pinned them in their own half for 25 minutes, being rewarded by a penalty and a try, both well taken by Carson.

Then a combination of slack technique at the breakdown and poor discipline allowed the home side back into the game and two penalties for Hickling brought them within striking distance.

Hadleigh then conceded several penalties but the home team failed to take advantage.

The second half continued in the same vein and Hadleigh were a man down when Sands was sin-binned. They kept Basildon at bay and then, against the run of play, extended their lead when Crisp, sprinted 30 metres to score.

Hadleigh seemed unable to lift themselves out of the mire, either literally or metaphorically, and continued to leak penalties. Muirhead was unfortunate as the ref mistook his attempt to step over one of his own players for an attempt to stamp and sent him off.

Hadleigh were again fortunate when Namadila picked up a dropped pass, moved the ball swiftly and Crisp ran it in from 40 metres out, with Carson converting. With a 14-point cushion Hadleigh hung on, despite a late try, to secure another valuable win.